Awake but not Aware

Awake but not Aware

February 3, 2010 Buddhism 0

Listening to brain activity?I was staggered to read the contents of this news article today; Vegetative state patients can respond to questions

Apparently, new research shows that people previously thought to be in a vegetative state can respond to questions “in a funny way” by being prompted to think of things as a way of answering the questions.  The scientists get the answer by looking at brain scans.

Buried in the news article was a sentence which I’ve summarised as this post’s title:

Awake but not Aware

You see, even though the person is vegetative (i.e. half-way to being dead), they can still hear and thinkbut are not aware that they are doing so!

I don’t think I can see anything that’s more bizarre.

It’s a kind of dream.

For a worst case scenario, consider hearing your relatives talking about switching your machines off.  To you, you see it as a dream – or as a witness to a film.

In a film you see horrors and niceties, but are always aware that it’s a film.

In the vegetative state, you see horrors and niceties, but are never aware that it’s real.

This is what this latest research tells us,

– and it implies that many judicial cases could be on the way.  What price a life?

It also shows that the gap between life and death is an even fuzzier one than we imagine, or legally define, in this land.


© 1977, Strangely Perfect.